relationships

  • Communication,  Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Musuem,  Health & wellbeing,  relationships

    Boundaries

    “We live in a time when people have unprecedented access to us. Bosses and coworkers expect you to read emails and DMs late at night, friends and family go into long rants over the phone or texts and expect instant feedback. Sometimes we have to say, ‘I don’t have the capacity to hold you right now because I’m trying to hold myself.'” ~Melanie Santos Stone walls, fences, and guard rails define our limits and announce our boundaries. They protect our property or keep us from falling over the edge. Along these lines, emotional boundaries helps us guard our time and privacy. While the internet serves as an invaluable communication tool,…

  • Communication,  relationships

    Words and feelings

    “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou As the old adage goes, it’s not just what we say that matters — but how we say it. While preparing for an essay workshop I coached last month, I ran across some notes I’d made about the importance of “voice and tone” in our writing. Since most personal essays are conversational, our job as writers is to draw readers into the heart and soul of our stories. We want others to relate to our experiences; we don’t want to alienate them. The same is true…

  • Communication,  Health & wellbeing,  relationships

    Love and struggle

    “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It’s an active noun, like ‘struggle.'”~Fred Rogers Relationships of any kind will evolve, change, and reshape themselves. In the early stages, we tend to idealize a new partner as well as our new friends. But who on earth can live up to our highest expectations — all of the time? The longer we know and love someone, and the more we grow, the more likely we’ll encounter a few obstacles, conflicts, and disappointments. Sometimes we’re called to struggle with a crisis together, or we need extra support to handle a problem or a challenge. Fragile relationships won’t withstand the stress — but the…

  • Aging well,  Anne Lamott,  Personal growth,  relationships

    Forgiveness

    “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.” ~Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre Responding to a recent “Life Lines” post about bad habits, a subscriber confided that giving up grudges is on her list of resolutions this year. We agreed that forgiveness is essential to our wellbeing — but not so easy to put into practice. Everyone struggles with grudges, emotional wounds, and petty grievances. But as Anne Lamott writes in Traveling Mercies, “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”  Forgiving people who hurt us doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those damaged relationships will return to…

  • Communication,  Friendship and relationship advice,  Photo stories,  relationships

    Make a note of it

    “In this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I didn’t grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy.” ~Elizabeth Kostova Yesterday I found a hand-written thank you note in my mail slot, delivered by the husband of a neighbor who’s still recovering from joint-replacement surgery. I had dropped off a container of chili at their home a week earlier, knowing how hard it is to cook meals when you’re barely able to walk. This dear neighbor had extended the same kindness to me when I was recovering — and I certainly didn’t expect her to write a thank you note. Nonetheless,…